Who's Who - Julius Arigi

Julius Arigi Julius Arigi (1895-1981) was Austria-Hungary's second highest scoring air ace of the First World War (and its most highly decorated), with his 32 victories second only to Godwin Brumowski.

Born on 3 October 1895 to a Sudetan German family in Decin, Bohemia, Arigi's background saw him train variously as a waiter or electrical mechanic (depending upon differing sources).

Arigi signed up with the Austrian army on 5 October 1913, serving briefly with an artillery regiment prior to his transfer to the Austro-Hungarian air service in March 1914, four months before war was declared with Serbia.  He duly received his pilot's license on 26 November 1914.

Enjoying notable popularity with the general public who appreciated the apparent glamour and dash of the aerial war, Arigi gained a similar degree of approval from the royal court itself, including Emperor Franz-Josef I.

Arigi's public acclaim was by no means merely a matter of public relations either.  In addition to having escaped from captivity he amassed a total of 32 aerial 'kills', and was one of relatively few top-scoring aces to survive the war.  His first victory was logged on 22 August 1916 - he went on to down four further aircraft that day - and his last 23 August 1918.

Following the war Arigi established himself in commercial aviation, co-founding Ikarus, of of Czechoslovakia's pioneering civil aviation companies.  After an eventful career in Czechoslovakia (which included assisting with the selection of new airfields and participation in espionage) he returned to Vienna, where following German annexation he wholeheartedly embraced the Nazi cause.

During the Second World War he acted a Luftwaffe instructor, retiring with Germany's defeat in 1945.  He died on 1 August 1981 in Attersee, Austria at the age of 85.

A "salient" is a battle line that projects into territory nominally held by enemy forces.

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